Western Province threw down the gauntlet on day three of the Coca-Cola Craven Week in Polokwane on Wednesday, beating The Blue Bulls 30-6 and sounding a warning that it is going to take a very good team to beat them in Saturday’s main game of the week – where they are almost certainly headed now.
The Blue Bulls were very impressive against KwaZulu-Natal in the first outing, but on Wednesday they had no answer to the power of the Province forwards, to the pace and skill of their backs, and to the accurate goal-kicking of Grant Hermanus, who slotted three penalties and converted the three WP tries for a 100% record with the boot.
The Bulls didn’t take the chances that came their way early on in the game and could not capitalise on a period when Province had two players in the sin bin. In fact, the Cape side scored the only points during that period – a Hermanus penalty – and once their full compliment were back on the field they took control and never looked back.
They scored three good tries – by Rikus Bosman, Herschel Jantjies and Heinrich Buhr.
The Bulls’ two penalties were kicked by Jemeel Warnick.
Border came through their second game with a win – 37-19 over Boland – which makes them one of three unbeaten sides in their group, along with WP and Zimbabwe. They have been impressive in both outings and should be given one of the late fixtures on the main field on Saturday.
The Pumas bounced back from their loss to Western Province on day one by scoring an emphatic, 40-18 win over KwaZulu-Natal.
The loss was the second on the trot for KwaZulu-Natal and a side that came to the week with high expectations will now be relegated to one of the minor fixtures on the final day.
Zimbabwe, meanwhile, are having their best Craven Week in many years. On Wednesday they recorded their second win – a comfortable 43-5 victory over the hosts, the Limpopo Blue Bulls.
The other visiting side, Namibia got the action going on day three with a 27-10 win over Griquas.
Thursday’s action sees Free State take on the Golden Lions in a clash that will probably decide who meets WP on Saturday. Eastern Province meet SWD in the other big game of the day.
Namiba 27 Griquas 10, Zimbabwe 43 Limpopo Blue Bulls 5, Border 37 Boland 19, Pumas 40 KwaZulu-Natal 18, Western Province 30 Blue Bulls 6.
Leopards v Border Country, Valke v Griquas Country, Griffons v E Province Country, E Province v SWD, Golden Lions v Free State.